You had waited and subsequently forgot about this for months. Anticipation for this 16 second gold mine of cardboard futility is at a fever pitch. Or I just have a fever. Here it is in all its glory, “The Gotta Catch Up List”.
Catch up on all my previous burns and check out my other project at bleedingyourcolors.weebly.com. Stay warm!
Oh, Carson Palmer. You were my reason for choosing USC as my second team back in the day. Let’s just say that burning your 2012 Panini Prestige is me saying that time has passed. It’s nothing personal. It’s what’s best for business. What business that is is still being determined.
The Jaguars are 0-8. They average just under 11 points a game. They are double digit underdogs each week, even to teams under .500. Their offense is so putrid…you know what I am just going to stop. Burying Jacksonville is no fun. They can’t defend themselves. So I am just going to burn this 2001 Upper Deck Fred Taylor and be on my way. On the bright side Jags fan(s), you may the most functional team in Florida. That’s something to hang your hat on. Do they even make Jaguars hats? Sorry, couldn’t help it. Done.
I was planning on having a taunting burn to commemorate the 2013 Dodgers’ run to a World Series title. Needless to say I got ahead of myself as LA was knocked out in the NLCS. The burns of the 2002 Topps of Rick Ankiel and the 2002 Topps Chrome of Jose Cabrera serve as a reminder to me not to count my chickens before they hatch. Oh but what I’d give to see Rick Ankiel pitch again—just as long as I am not in the batter’s box. Congratulations Red Sox fans, these burns ended up being for you.
I have posted before about a fantasy baseball league that I participate in originating in Long Island. It has been active for over 30 years and has an eclectic cast of characters. Those are not the characters I choose to speak of today but instead of the “characters” these characters choose. Now that I am done with my sad sack attempt at Inception-ing everybody, let me stop being cryptic. Every league and its members has its history with certain players and teams. It takes a lot of alcohol and a bit of soul selling (it is on clearance at this point) for me to draft a New England Patriot. It took me years to finally allow a member of the Miami Heat to be on my team, even as a waiver pick up. This league though is different. As I have said in previous Probation league musings (or at least think I have), you get three moves maximum for a season and they mostly come at a price. The first is an optional player you can plug in for free any time before September 1st. The second comes during the Mid-Year Draft after the All-Star Break in which you can bid to remove the biggest malcontent from your ranks. The third is an injury replacement draft in August where one can cut players injured and under certain innings and at bat requirements. I’ve dealt with method three before (Kendry Morales, Burn #111) now the Mid-Year Draft takes center stage. That being said I have never been present for it. I email my list of five replacements and how much I am willing to spend. Takes a bit of the thrill out of it but I can’t take a day off for thirty minutes of bidding and bickering. One day though. It’s good to have dreams. Needless to say I didn’t witness in 2012 when Mike Trout went for $70 or in 2006 when Chris Ray was a hot commodity. The biggest piece of Mid-Year folklore came before my time though and it was centered around today’s burn Danny Graves (as pictured on his 2002 Fleer Tradition), closer of yesteryear for the Cincinnati Reds. The tale of Graves is a Fish Tale of sorts with his price ranging over the years from $100 to $200. Too bad not too long after his drafting, $100 to $200 was Danny Graves’ actual salary playing for the Long Island Ducks.
No long drawn out mess of a post today. Just an inspirational message from Kevin Garnett (as shown on his 2000-2001 SP Authentic). ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FUCK!!!!!!!! Whoops that last part slipped through.
As a child I purchased more NBA Hoops cards than I knew what to do with. I still don’t know what to do with them. I have almost two full two thousand count boxes of the “Official Cards of the NBA” from the 1989-1990 and 1990-1991 seasons and may have a total value of $15. The majority of that value comes from Michael Jordan and Gary Payton’s rookie. I will not be burning His Airness or The Glove today but instead Cotton. OK let me clarify so that does not come off as an extremely racist pun. I have already burned two coaches from 1990-1991 Hoops, Bill Musselman of Minnesota (#267) and Rick Adelman of Portland during last year’s Movember burnathon (#322). Today I take down Phoenix’s Cotton Fitzsimmons. A 2013 Basketball Hall of Famer, though it was sadly posthumous, Fitzsimmons was a two time NBA Coach of the Year. Cotton got his start at Moberly Junior College in Missouri and after 11 seasons and 2 NJCAA titles he moved onto Kansas State. It took only two seasons and one Sweet Sixteen for the NBA to beckon. He took the reigns in 1970 and bounced around until 1996, his third and final stint with the Suns. Lowell Fitzsimmons may have passed in 2004 but Cotton lives forever. His spirit at least, his 1990-1991 Hoops is long gone. If all goes well he won’t be the last coach to go. From the set I mean, I am not awaiting the demise of Gene Littles.
Lamar Odom is a bit of a mess these days. I know that is understating it but I like to remember the glory days of Mr. Odom and not the TMZ spectacle of the present day. Lamar Odom was never a model citizen but he did play for a team near and dear to my heart, the University of Rhode Island Rams. Lamar rode the old NCAA impropriety train in his first collegiate stop at UNLV (an institution well renowned for producing college scholars and graduates, wow I almost typed that all with a straight face) before he got out of Dodge and transferred to Rhody Rhody Rhody. There he was reunited with his last high school coach, Jerry DeGregorio. Is it a coincidence that Jerry came to Kingston shortly after Odom’s transfer or more of a coincidence that incumbent head coach Jim Harrick bolted upon Odom’s departure to the NBA? Whoa Utley pump the brakes I thought you were going to reminisce about the glory days? Sorry me it is just easier to dissect Odom’s flaws. On to the good stuff! The 1998-99 Rams season was a roller coaster ride finishing 17-12 with losses to lowly St. Bonaventure and Fordham to end the regular season. They needed to win the Atlantic 10 Tournament to get into the Big Dance. Odom was the team’s top scorer and rebounder and was nearly the team’s assist leader. His responsibilities would be no lesser in the A10 Tourney. LaSalle was a cakewalk in their first game but the next two hurdles were quite daunting, the two other representatives from the A10 in the NCAAs: George Washington & Temple. GW, winners of the A10 West, didn’t provide much more resistance to Odom’s Rams as the showdown with Temple was set. Rhode Island had lost both home and away in the regular season but the tournament final just felt different. Odom led the way with 21 & 10 along with holding Owl star Mark Karcher to 5 for 18 shooting. He then hit the shot heard around the world (or just Kingston), a running deep three pointer to send Rhody to a NCAA berth. Odom put up a 16 & 12 against future Atlantic 10 compatriots Charlotte but that couldn’t stop a second half collapse. They lost in overtime. That was the last taste of the tournament Rhody has had and the final game in Keaney Blue for Odom. Glory days gone. 2000-2001 Upper Deck Victory Lamar Odom gone.
Thursday night NFL games are real duds. Last night’s was no different as the 49ers rebounded from two straight losses in which Colin Kaepernick went 11 quarters without a TD toss to embarrass the Rams, 35-11. Granted Kaepernick didn’t set the world on fire but it was the play of the other QB, Sam Bradford, that I am focusing on (more just mentioning than focusing but moving on). Since being the #1 pick in 2010 (the last cash-in draft for rookies) Bradford hasn’t been more than a middle of the road signal caller. Long gone are the days of the Greatest Show on Turf led by today’s burn, Kurt Warner (as shown on his 2000 Upper Deck Victory Season Leaders). Warner emerged from obscurity and I am going to stop now because any person who watched an NFL telecast from 2000-2010 has heard this rags to riches tale a million times over. Now not everyone can be the God Praising, Barnstorming, MVP Bag Boy but when Rams fans invested themselves in the notion of a new face of the franchise they probably hoped he would at least be better than Mark Bulger. Hell I bet they’d take him being better than previous burn (#240) Chris, whoops sorry Jim Everett. Or Tony Banks. Nevermind, everybody is better than Tony Banks. To be honest I don’t think anybody in Genesis had a good arm! I’ll ask Warner though he knows his Bible. (UNNECESSARY DOUBLE ENTENDRE GUITAR RIFF!)
This past weekend Ed Reed returned to his old stomping grounds of Baltimore with his new team, the Houston Texans. The game didn’t go very well for Ed’s new team as the Ravens won by three touchdowns. This burn is less about Ed Reed though and more about Edward Reed. Confused? Don’t be. Every so often card companies will use a full name instead of the shortened version that most people use. Whenever I see this on the front of a card I chuckle. Hoops and other companies used to display complete full names on the backs but the front was different. When I look at the front of Reed’s 2003 Topps and see Edward instead of Ed I can only think of his grandmother scolding him for something. “Edward Reed you get your ass in this house right fucking now!”. I know, Ed Reed’s grandma curses like a sailor. Carry on Edward.
The start of the NHL regular season starts in exactly one week. Opening night features three games: a marquee showcase between Washington and Chicago as well as two all-Canadian showdowns. Toronto takes on Montreal in the Molson Canadian Face Off in the Eastern Conference game. The Western Conference game is between Winnipeg and Edmonton. Edmonton is where today’s burn Steven Rice plied his trade from 1991-1994. Rice is yet another 1992-1993 Upper Deck to become ash. Rice was a minor league goal scoring machine but it only translated to 64 in 329 in the pros. Current Oiler sniper Taylor Hall has 65 through 171 games if you needed a comparison. You didn’t though, I can tell by the look on your face.
Not many football fans had high expectations for the New York Jets this year. It was either going to be Captain Buttfumble, Mark Sanchez, or the only QB in college who could consistently complete the fade, rookie Geno Smith, at the helm. The Sanchise’s untimely preseason demise in less than meaningless garbage time meant the job was all Geno’s. Geno wore #12 in college at West Virginia. I’m sorry West Fuckin’ Virginia. For the Jets though that number is untouchable as it belonged to Jets icon (and probably the worst QB in the Hall of Fame, look it up) Joe “I Wanna Kiss You” Namath. Geno got the next best thing: Number 7. Granted second best for the Jets is still pretty miserable but #7 has some mileage in Jets quarterback history. Some really rough mileage but mileage nonetheless.
The last man to start under center as a #7 was Frank Reich. Reich, of the Greatest Comeback of All-Time fame, replaced an injured Neil O’Donnell, of I Should Have Got a Cut of Larry Brown’s Raiders Contract fame, after Neil tore his calf during pre-game warm-ups. They were 0-6 at the time and ended up 1-15 with the immortal Glenn Foley (not a #7 so fuck him) taking over when Reich hurt his hammy. Who was the one W in one of the worst seasons ever? Why it was the team of the previous Jets #7, Boomer Esiason. Boomer didn’t play in that game but he did play 42 out of 48 regular season games for Gang Green the previous three seasons. He probably wished he had gangrene as they went 17-31 during his tenure. Boomer won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award his final season as a Jet but when you were playing for arguably the worst professional coach ever focusing on his foundation was definitely more worthy of his time. On to Boomer’s direct predecessor, the last #7, and the subject of today’s burn, Ken O’Brien. I know that it took awhile to get to this but sadly for you there isn’t much of a payoff. Just the 1991 Pinnacle (the second 1991 Pinnacle Jet to go in the last three burns) of the man taken three picks before Dan Marino in the 1983 (Greatest QB Class) NFL Draft. But hey, he won as many Super Bowls as Marino (and beat him in the 1st ever QB Challenge!).
2000-2001 Upper Deck Victory Wally Szczerbiak. A name that has ruined the career of many a local sportscaster was written correctly by me on the first try. Scout’s honor! Rats, I was never a scout. Honestly when it comes to hard to spell names I am consistently on point. It pays to have friends with last names like Sieczkiewicz. I am even starting to get a grasp on these Ukranian soccer and hockey names. Them’s be a bitch.
It seems like every other day this past week I had a fantasy football draft. Auctions, snakes, and standards I ran the gamut. This year marks a milestone for me though. This is the first year I’ve allowed myself to have Tom Brady on more than one of my teams. I may be co-managing one of those teams but I still gave the go-ahead so the blood is still on my hands. Tom Brady has been an NFL archvillian to me over the past decade and having to root for him for any reason takes a whack with a Singapore cane to my soul each time. Who do I have to thank for this? If Brady is the Joker to my Batman then what man represents Axis chemicals? That would be Mo Lewis or as Boston fans would refer to their objects of disdain Mo Fuckin’ Lewis (as shown on his 1991 fuckin’ Pinnacle rookie). Boston fans don’t hate Mo Lewis though. They laude him and even in certain Pats fan circles is referred to as the most valuable player in the team’s history. How did a Jet linebacker become such a folk hero for a rival club? He is the man that formally ended (outside of an AFC title game cameo) the Drew Bledsoe era in New England with a sideline hit that left Bledsoe with internal injuries. The rest is history as the ultimate opportunist (apologies to Edge) Tom Brady took the reins and never looked back. So Mo, you may have been a Jets legend as a 2x All-Pro but you will be legendary for all the wrong reasons to all the fanbases in which you released Mr. Bunchden upon.
The NFL season is a mere week away. Every fan base has hope. Different groups have varying levels of hope but there is still hope. Then there are Bills fans. These unfortunate souls have a tormented existence yet still hold steady in support of their beloved Bills. There is no hope in Buffalo but I know every Sunday I’ll see the lot of them glued to their TV waiting for the next calamity to occur. Mario Williams (as pictured on his 2012 Topps Chrome) is a prime example of such a calamity. Though he was handed an exorbitant contract, Williams has been a disappointment. He may still turn it around but I don’t think I could convince a Bills fan of such. So good luck Buffalo faithful, with an undrafted rookie at QB and a defense bearing a striking resemblance to Swiss cheese you will surely need it.